The plot thickens- 5th Week of Lent, Saturday- John 11: 45- 57
Interestingly, more than forty five percent of the Gospel of John will deal with Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. Chapter thirteen through twenty one is dedicated only to this theme. In Chapter twelve, Jesus will enter triumphant into Jerusalem; Holy Week will begin.
The plot thickens in chapter eleven. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead and “many believed in Him” (10:42). It is this growing belief in Him that causes the Jewish leaders to get rattled; rattled enough for religious leaders to plan a murder!
Jesus, by His words and deeds, has effectively got a whole Samaritan village to believe in Him (4:41). That belief spreads to the royal household when Jesus heals the royal official’s son (4:50). There is belief in Jesus after He foretells His death (8:30), after the healing of the man born blind (9:36-38), at the end of the good shepherd discourse (10:21), at the feast of the dedication of the temple (10:42), through Martha’s profession (11:27) and in the Jews who witnessed Lazarus’ raising from the dead (11:45). To top it all, many acknowledged Him as a prophet (7:40) some even as the Messiah (7:41).
All this was too much for Caiaphas and the Jewish establishment. The ‘rabble-rouser’ that they thought Jesus to be, with His band of peasant following, had now, in their eyes, become a political problem. If this got out of hand, Caiaphas was out of a job. The Romans had no qualms in putting down insurrections with an iron fist. Crucifixions along the Roman highways served as public notice: “don’t mess with us or you land up on a cross.”
History tells us that Caiaphas held the office of High Priest from AD 18 and continued to do so till AD 36. High Priests held office as long as they enjoyed Roman favour and that will explain the true anxiety over Caiaphas’ remarks. He was not concerned for the Jewish people; he was most certainly concerned to enforce the ‘Pax Romani’ or the peace of Rome, to ensure his own position as high priest.
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